A recent survey conducted with prisoners in Albania in the framework of the EU and Council of Europe action "Enhancing the protection of human rights of prisoners in Albania” highlighted that employment and education are perceived by prisoners as the main means which can facilitate their reintegration in the community.
In this context the EU and Council of Europe, through the joint Horizontal Facility II programme, are supporting the Albanian authorities and key stakeholders to improve education, vocational training and employment opportunities for prisoners in Albania.
As part of these efforts, a one-day online workshop was organised in the format of an open forum with relevant actors in the field representing the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance, National Agency for Vocational Qualification, National Employment Services, National Agency for Social Services, Municipality of Tirana, NGOs and business representatives. The participants had the opportunity to exchange their experiences, and discuss future milestones that may contribute for enhancing education and employment opportunities in the prisons in Albania. The findings of two recent studies “A comparative study on employment and education in prisons” and “A study with prisoners in Albania on education and employment opportunities”, supported by the joint action “Enhancing the protection of human rights of prisoners in Albania” were shared, providing insights on European best practices, as well as results of the survey with prisoners conducted in nine Albanian prisons, and key recommendations to assist the authorities in designing and tailoring a national model that will improve education and employment opportunities for Albanian prisoners.
Key findings of the workshop were assessed in the following meeting of the Working Group mandated to draft the National Strategy on Improving Education and Employment Opportunities for Prisoners in Albania, composed of representatives of the Ministry of Justice Directorate General of Prison Administration, and Council of Europe experts.
Head of Council of Europe Tirana office, Ms Jutta Gützkow addressed the meeting focusing on the important role of the prisons’ service in enhancing the motivation of prisoners to living a law-abiding life. “To enable a prisoner’s successful reintegration into society, the prisoner will have to become part and drive his/her own process of change – assisted by prison staff”, stressed Gützkow.
The provision of education and vocational skills in prison will offer an opportunity for prisoners to address their skills gaps vis-à-vis the local job market, while making effective use of sentence time. Research shows that higher chances of employability of former prisoners substantially increase prisoner’s chances to desist crime.
This activity was organised within the scope of the action “Enhancing the protection of human rights of prisoners in Albania”, implemented under the European Union and Council of Europe joint programme “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022”.